As the eighteenth century began, the influence of the great dramatic poets—Pierre Corneille , Jean Racine , and Molière —was dominant. Their plays continued as the standard fare in the repertory of the Comédie-Française, created by the fusion of Molière’s actors and the Hôtel de Bourgogne players in 1680. Yet whereas the seventeenth century had had a predilection for tragedy, the eighteenth century tended to favor comedy, and, with the exception of Voltaire, there are no tragic playwrights of note as tragedy evolved into drama, melodrama, historical, and...
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